At least 36 people died — mostly from suffocation — while 54 persons were wounded following an attack at the Resorts World Manila on Friday.
Southern Police District chief Senior Superintendent Tomas Apolinario clarified on Friday afternoon that the death toll following the attack is 36 including the gunman, not 37.
In an interview on GMA News' To Go, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Oscar Albayalde said that the death toll has reached 37, including the gunman.
"Sa huling tala po ay nasa 36 na yung na-recover na bangkay doon sa may casino area plus 'yung gunman so nasa 37 lahat as of this time," he said.
"Nakikita po ng ating Bureau of Fire [Protection] na maraming salamin na nabasag doon. Baka ito po ang naging sanhi ng pagiging unconscious... Baka nabagsakan sila ng mga mabibigat na bagay," he added.
Resorts World Manila Chief Operating Officer Stephen Reilly said in a press conference that 35 died due to smoke inhalation, in which 22 were guests and 13 were employees.
Southern Police District head Sr. Supt. Tomas Apolinario, however, said they cannot ascertain yet if the victims found on the second and third floors were already dead.
“Thirty-four bodies ang nakita but yet to confirm kung patay na o hindi. Sa ngayon po continuous pa 'yung Bureau of Fire Protection na iniisa-isa 'yung mga kasuluk-sulukan. They want to make sure na talagang na-account 'yung lahat ng tao sa loob,” Apolinario said in a radio interview.
NCRPO spokesperson Chief Insp. Kimberly Molitas said apart from the 34 bodies cited by Apolinario, three other remains had already been brought to a funeral parlor.
Investigation is still ongoing as of posting time.
Olan Bola of radio dzBB reported that one of the fatalities has been brought to the Veronica Memorial Chapel in Pasay City. The cause of death has yet to be identified.
Bola subsequently reported at around 9:57 a.m. that a burned body was also brought to the funeral home.
Both were males.
Veronica Memorial Chapel personnel said that they have yet to recover other fatalities.
According to the report, a lot of victims including employees were trapped in the casino area located at the second floor of Resorts World Manila.
Albayalde confirmed this in an interview on dzBB, saying they have recovered over three bodies aside from the suspect's.
"Kaninang umaga meron pong na-retrieve na around mga three, kung hindi ako nagkakamali, tatlo. Ngunit mayroon pa pong ni-re-retrieve most probably...Dahil hindi talaga mapasok 'yung lugar dahil makapal pa po ang usok. Pero most probably tataas pa po 'yan maliban sa suspect," Albayalde said.
"'Yung pong na-recover sa casino buo po 'yung katawan nila. Sa tingin po, sa assessment, namatay po sa sobrang usok, sa suffocation," he added.
A South Korean foreign ministry official said one South Korean had died, apparently after a heart attack, Reuters reported.
Some 54 individuals were wounded following the incident, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director Ronald dela Rosa said Friday.
"'Yung victim umabot ng 54 'yung nadala sa hospital. Eighteen of them ang na-confine. 'Yung iba slight...minor injuries," Dela Rosa told reporters.
"Nasa apat na mga hospital—sa San Juan de Dios, Pasay General Hospital, Villamor at tsaka sa St. Luke's," he added.
Dela Rosa said there was a victim who suffocated due to the heavy smoke in the area.
"Mga minor lang pero the worst, 'yung na-suffocate. Hindi pa natin alam kung namatay o hindi. Malaman natin sa hospital," he said.
Dela Rosa added that a security guard accidentally shot himself after panicking during the incident.
"'Yung isang gunshot wound na nadala sa hospital, 'yan 'yung security guard na nabaril niya sarili niya—accidental. Nabaril niya eh. Nag-panic na doon kanina," Dela Rosa said.
Three South Koreans suffered minor injuries from smoke inhalation or during the evacuation, an official from the South Korean foreign ministry said, according to a Reuters report.
Kin in agony
Gil Yonco, 54, stood weeping in the street at around 5 a.m. His daughter had been on the second floor inside Resorts World and called her father for help because she was being suffocated by smoke, Reuters reported.
He tried calling back but there was no answer. "I am very worried as a parent, I need to find her," he said.
Relatives of victims gathered in a parking area could be heard crying.
In a separate interview on Unang Balita, Resorts World Manila Chief Operating Officer Stephen Reilly assured that they will assist victims.
He said that about 30 individuals were brought to different hospitals.
"We'll make sure we help all the victims as much as possible as we can...What we can confirm to you at this time is that 30 individuals were taken to nearby hospital for care and assessment from the property during the course of the evening," Reilly told reporters. — with reports from Reuters, Amita Legaspi, and Anna Felicia Bajo/KG/MDM, GMA News